film-making with no degree?
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Topic: film-making with no degree?

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    wanderheart started this thread.
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    Default film-making with no degree?


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    Super Moderator   film-making with no degree? film-making with no degree? film-making with no degree? film-making with no degree? mara's Avatar
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    Nothing is easy, especially in the film industry :)
    But certainly I think you can work in the business without a degree, although you'll need to gain knowledge on a practical basis.

    You might try to work on a very low/no budget movie as a production assistant (p.a.) first, then use that experience and contacts to start to work your way up. You'll also need to figure out what area of the business you're interested in.

    Check out my blog on my experiences as an indie screenwriter and producier:
    http://moreorlessonmovies.blogspot.com/

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    Member   film-making with no degree? film-making with no degree? CJM Sandman's Avatar
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    It is certainly possible, but behind the eight ball you are...!

    A lot depends and what you see yourself doing. Beginning as a production assistant is most wise, you learn a ton in a sort of crash course type way. Having a bit of knowledge going into that position would be useful, absorbing information about the general mechanics of film making and the production process would be the best. Find some information about producing and production management, it gives the broad strokes of some of the duties you might have, or duties someone will assign you. The expectations are low for the most part as everyone understands PA's are mostly there to learn and provide support for some of the more tedious duties.

    What will separate you and other PA's will be your interest in a particular discipline, and essentially what you can bring to the table. Whether or not the opportunity presents itself, intelligent and creative suggestions in conjunction with timing and tact will usually raise an eyebrow. Filmmakers constantly are battling with schedules, unforeseen problems, mistakes, problems, all kinds of variables that can slow down a production.

    Being knowledgeable about the process, being respectful and attentive to the production, and not getting too much in the way will guarantee a good experience and even perhaps a call back if you prove useful. The most important aspect of beginning as a PA is that you are simply the support. It takes an enormous effort and although you may feel like getting coffee for the director is a waste of your time, a useful fact or suggestion given at the right time will open doors.

    To answer your original question (I apologize for the tangent) it is not easy to break in to the business without some sort of education or block of time spent refining your skills. The reason I say that is usually people spend years tinkering with ideas, making mistakes (and progress) but, ultimately end up with a reel of work or a list of projects they have been apart of. A degree does come in handy; a lot of people will tell you it's a waste of time for a myriad of reasons...however an education in film does put you ahead of the curve in a lot of ways.

    Either way, work and develop your skills with whatever area you would like to go into as much as possible. One never quite knows when THE opportunity will present itself~!


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    Junior Member   BlueRider's Avatar
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    It has become very doable to acquire the knowledge of an area in film (cinematography, direction, editing, production design, etc.) without formal school BUT you're still competing with a lot of people who do have film degrees.

    I would recommend focusing on finding a mentor as opposed to jobs. I've seen multiple people (especially in post production) find an experienced professional to teach and guide them.

    The crazy thing is that you will likely learn more from being an apprentice than being in any film program. My 2 cents.


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    Senior Member   ironpony's Avatar
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    I a film student and I think that in film school you learn a lot of the business end of the things, but when it comes to for example, actually learning how to direct or use the equipment, you learn more about that in the field, in comparison. But that's just my experience.


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    Senior Member   film-making with no degree? film-making with no degree? film-making with no degree? Walter B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    I a film student and I think that in film school you learn a lot of the business end of the things, but when it comes to for example, actually learning how to direct or use the equipment, you learn more about that in the field, in comparison. But that's just my experience.
    I guess that depends on the school, the teachers and the students.

    I learnt very little about the business side of things in school, but a lot about the creative and technical part.
    And yes: the real learning is on set, otherwise you are just learning theory, not skills.


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    Senior Member   ironpony's Avatar
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    I should take some of that back :). We learn a good amount of the creative and technical part, but a lot of the things we learn are for too high of budgets for us, so I find myself not being able to apply a lot of what I learned, tech wise, unless working on big budgets, so I have to re-invent the wheel, which I wish they taught more of, but we still learn a lot of course.


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    Senior Member   film-making with no degree? film-making with no degree? Steve Olander's Avatar
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    I always learned by doing, not so much getting a formal education. That's how my mind works.

    While doing I do a lot of my own research. Someone else's schedule of learning things doesn't work for me. I need to learn about the part I am curious about now. Of course I take it in a progression from the fundamentals to the technicals.

    I researched filmmaking from the time I was 13 to today. I started pursuing it at age 42. I got a camera and made a 30 second commercial for a contest. That's when I found that I can in fact do this.

    Some more videos I did I also posted online. From that someone found me and asked me to Direct their films. These were people also new to the film industry. We ended up making a 45 minute short film that won Best Horror Short, has been nominated for numerous elements, and has now been an official selection in 16 film festivals.

    I am working on my own documentary, and another film with the production company that recruited me. We also finished a documentary and a feature film. Both are in post production.

    Now, ......... we have a contract with a Hollywood producer to shoot a feature film, and the budget is 7 figures.

    None of us have been to film school. We were too busy doing it.



    Steve


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    Junior Member   film-making with no degree? film-making with no degree? Demi 31's Avatar
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    Don't get me wrong, i am all for education because a degree in most fields gets you 'certified' and shows that you've learned certain competent skills and have worked with faculty at a particular institution however, i tend to think that nobody in Hollywood will ask to see your academic credentials before they let you direct a film. On a much serious note though, if you love making films or the idea of making films, then make them because you love and enjoy it. Make them because you can’t imagine not making them. Then if you get that lucky break you give it your very best like your entire life depended on it.


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    Senior Member   ironpony's Avatar
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    Sorry I posted by accident. I deleted it.


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    Senior Member   film-making with no degree? film-making with no degree? Steve Olander's Avatar
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    From what I have seen, and I am sure this is not 100% consistent, but in many cases, your body of work is more likely to open doors for you. If you can show what you can do in a matter of seconds they know exactly what you are about.

    I'm a Toolmaker. When someone new would come into the shop to work as a Toolmaker nobody is interested in your education or experience. What they want to see is what you can do. "Don't tell me how good you are, show me." I have seen the same sentiment carry much more weight in the film realm. If you can show someone some incredible work you've done, they will be excited to have you work for/with them. They won't care how you got that good.

    A friend of mine is a major SFX make-up artist and creature creator. He didn't go to school for it. He got a book and read magazines on how to do it, and then did it. He offered his help with filmmakers at the college he went to (for a general degree, no SFX make-up classes at Kent State then). That's how he learned. He did everything. When he went to Hollywood he learned that everyone specializes in each aspect of SFX make-up. When they learned he could do everything himself, they did not ask him about his education, they just wanted to see his work. The fact that his work was awesome, and he could handle every aspect himself, got him tons of work, which only honed his skills even more. He's had an amazing career and continues to work today (30 years later). He was just on the SyFy TV show "Face Off."

    However, people learn in different ways. Some people need a structured system to learn something new. In those cases film school is a very good thing.

    I never went to film school, but on this Hollywood budgeted film I am going to work on I will have Film school graduates working under me. Then again, I've spent 40 years learning what I know, and the past 11 practicing. Film school could get you on a Hollywood set quicker, if you accel and gain excellent skills.


    Steve


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    Junior Member   film-making with no degree? bryman1's Avatar
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    from photography to filming, I'm self taught but then I don't do it for a living... which is probably the difference.... for professionals, some kinda training would be required somewhere along the line, once you have you a couple of films under your belt it probably wont matter what qualifications you have (providing the films were good) lol
    I think its about finding a style and learning from others, perhaps learning from their mistakes... again I don't know for sure but id imagaine a cource which teach many many aspects to the game, shooting, equipment and angles etc....
    I think what I'm trying to say is if you wanted to be a pro, I guess you would need a qualiy, or how else would someone take you on with nothing but ideas under your belt.... hope this makes sence...


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    Pro Member   film-making with no degree? Mick Scarborough's Avatar
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    You arent going to walk in a door and get a job without a degree. Hell you probably wont walk in a door and get a job with a degree. Your work, if its good, will get you noticed and lead to a job.


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